10 Sports Teams That Didn't Bother Showing Up
As sports fans, we take pride in showing support for our teams.
That means literally counting down days, hours, minutes and, yes, even seconds until the start of a big game.
But, as hyped as we all get for certain matches, sometimes the players lack the same enthusiasm, struggling to ever really seem either interested or competitive before the final outcome has already happened.
I'm not saying these teams did it purposely, but I am saying that they didn't bother showing up.
2004 Los Angeles Lakers
Before some of these current NBA teams got together to build superteams, the 2004 L.A. Lakers tried it first, bringing together four future Hall of Famers—Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant—to team up with the greatest coach in NBA history, Phil Jackson.
After winning 56 games during the regular season, the Lakers seemed destined to win an NBA title without any problem at all.
It seems they got a little ahead of themselves, though, as the Detroit Pistons didn't just beat L.A., but absolutely humiliated them, whipping them in five games to win the franchise's first championship since 1990.
2011 Philadelphia Phillies
It's more than just the 102 wins that the Philadelphia Phillies had compared to their opponents—the 90-win St. Louis Cardinals.
It's the fact that the Phillies had arguably the best starting pitching any baseball fan has ever seen, with guys like Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay all options to take the bump.
Sure, the Phils didn't get humiliated like a few of these other teams on this list did, but losing the final two games of the 2011 divisional series to a team who didn't nearly have the same talent earns them a spot here.
2014 England National Soccer Team
I fully understand that soccer is the go-to sport of our friends across the pond in England, but until they win another World Cup—which they haven't done since 1966—can we all just agree they're mediocre right now?
That's all anyone can really say about the Brits, who, after losing their first two matches in this year's World Cup, have found themselves booking a ticket back to their lovely country rather than chasing a title.
It's clear these boys just couldn't cut it in a group that included some other big name countries—with England only able to muster a third-match draw to collect one point.
2012 USC Trojans Football
That was the last time a college football team did what the 2012 USC Trojans football team "accomplished" by going from preseason No. 1 to unranked—as the Ole Miss Rebels did it.
The Trojans, loaded with top recruits and a blend of veterans, did sustain injuries and some bad luck, but with a roster deep with talent, one would think they'd at least compete more than they did.
2005 and 2006 Kansas Jayhawks
I sort of hate dogging a team more than once, but, unfortunately, I couldn't help myself with the Kansas Jayhawks from a few years ago.
First, in 2005, the Jayhawks were a 13.5-point favorite over their first-round opponent in the NCAA tournament, Bucknell.
Rock Chalk got beat.
Rather than learn from that stunning upset, though, Kansas came back the following season, losing again to a Cinderella in the first-round, getting beaten by Bradley.
Head coach Bill Self can recruit, and does have a national title on his resume, but he has had some serious choke jobs, too.
2014 Indiana Pacers
When a team pushes the defending champs to the brink of elimination a year prior, it's considered a failure when they can't at least match it the following season—as was the case with this year's Indiana Pacers team.
You see, after forcing a Game 7 against the Miami Heat in 2013, many believed that the Pacers had the guts and focus to potentially dethrone Miami this year.
But after two shaky, early rounds in the playoffs where they actually looked like they would be beaten, the Pacers could only get to six games with the Heat this year, looking like a team who was intimidated and overmatched—a far cry from their early-season attitude.
2014 Spain National Soccer Team
After one of the most successful six years of international soccer ever, the Spanish national team's reign has come to an end in this summer's World Cup.
Ranked No. 1 in the world prior to the tournament, Spain lost their first two games uncharacteristically because of bad passing, goalkeeping and lack of unity—which had been their staples of success.
Under the guidance of manager Vicente del Bosque, Spain had won the last three major soccer tournaments in the world (Euro '08, World Cup '10 and Euro '12), but appeared as if it forgot to pack any talent with them upon landing in Brazil a few weeks ago—getting ousted after the group stage.
2014 Miami Heat
OK, so it might be safe to say that this year's Miami Heat team inspired this entire article.
That's because, after winning the past two NBA titles and becoming just the third team ever to reach four-straight NBA Finals, Miami dropped a chance at securing quite the legacy.
Sure, the San Antonio Spurs had plenty of motivation in beating the Heat in the Finals—especially after losing in the fashion they did last year—but to get buried in five games by an average margin of 18 points proves that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the rest of the Heatles can't just get by on their superstar names to win a ring.
2013 Denver Broncos
Much like the St. Louis Rams did in Super Bowl XXXVI when they lost to the New England Patriots, this past season's Denver Broncos put up points at will, breaking numerous offensive records and having quarterback Peyton Manning earn his fifth MVP award.
But what they did in the Super Bowl was just embarrassing.
From the first snap of the game when the ball sailed over Manning's head and out of the end zone for a safety, the Broncos were overmatched by the Seattle Seahawks, eventually getting blasted, 43-8—even though Denver was favored to win by a slight margin.
2008 Detroit Lions
I know that most of the other examples I've mentioned in this piece have to deal with talented teams underachieving, but when a professional football team goes winless over an entire season—as the 2008 Detroit Lions did—they have to grab the top spot.
When a team goes 0-16, there are plenty of defining moments that proved how bad they were. But none was worse than quarterback Dan Orlovsky's safety during a game against the Minnesota Vikings that year, as he ran out of the back of the end zone.
I know these guys tried to win, but doing things like that makes you wonder if they just enjoyed collecting their paychecks and not actually playing the games.